Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the GalaxyA review by Nalini Haynes

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn & Nicole Perlman (screen writers), Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (comic book)
Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan
Watch this if you liked: Blakes 7 and Farscape and you’d like them in an action-packed movie
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Marvel brings a cast of relatively unknown characters to the big screen. When I say ‘relatively unknown’ I mean they FINALLY put out a movie that isn’t another reboot, relaunch, reimagining or REHASH OF VERY OLD STORIES. When I say ‘big screen’, I’m talking about IMAX’S SEVEN STORY-HIGH BIG SCREEN. So, in my opinion, it’s a winning combination before we even started. THEN I saw the 17 minute preview. I thought that’d be the first 17 minutes of the movie. I WAS WRONG.

Guardians of the Galaxy was EVEN BETTER in glorious full-length.

Peter Quill is a normal kid on Earth in the late 80s. He’s in hospital where his mother is dying of cancer. She tells Peter his grandfather will look after him and that Peter’s father is an angel who will come for him some day.

Peter is ejected from the hospital room because his mother died. Distressed, he walks outside where he’s Close Encountered. All the way up into the ship. What can I say? Shit happens.

Guardians of the Galaxy26 years later, Peter is scavenging for an orb (pictured) on a planet where cute miniature dinosaurs try to eat him, each other and play at being a microphone while Peter sings along to a 70s and 80s sound track. It’s hilarious.

He gets the orb, escapes the bad dudes who want it only to end up on a planet where an Orion slave girl – oops – lethal weapon 6 (Zoe Saldana) – tries to steal the orb. And a raccoon (Bradley Cooper), accompanied by his house plant (Vin Diesel) realise the bounty on Peter’s head is totally worth disrupting the peace and risking being thrown in to a maximum security prison.

In maximum security, the prisoners plan to make the newbies their bitches, Groot (the house plant) demonstrates his house-broken-ness – or ability to break houses – and they meet Drax (David Bautista – a guy with an incredible vocabulary, minimal sense of humour and a hilarious inability to grasp metaphors.

Our team is assembled. They merely have to escape. We saw a lot of the prison sequence in the preview but consider this the ‘director’s cut’. Guardians of the Galaxy is SO MUCH Blake’s 7 for the 20-teens.

Ronan (Lee Pace) is a necromancer or necromage or something that sounds like it came straight from the Chronicles of Riddick but if GotG references Riddick, it’s only to school those dudes in how to do it right. Glenn Close totally had me going ‘CRUELLA DE VILLE’ especially with that makeup and ‘do’, girl, but no spotted puppies in sight. She’s the president of the planet of the good guys in this one so we don’t even get manic laughter (I guess we can’t have it all).

Guardians of the Galaxy even passes the Bechdel Test, particularly because you have Gamora (Zoe Saldana) facing off with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). Gamora has a boob window for most of the movie (not a fan) but at least she doesn’t have push-up plastic watermelons like ‘She’ in Angel. There’s a scene where Peter checks out Gamora’s ass while she climbs the ladder; when Peter climbs the same ladder, the camera angle and dwelling clearly says ‘nope, no equal opportunity perving here’. Stan Lee plays a dirty old man – again. I’m not a fan of this but I guess his capacity for cameos is limited. I have to say, though, Guardians of the Galaxy does everything SO MUCH BETTER than most movies.

Special effects and 3D blended really well in this movie, adding to the experience and never getting in the way of telling the story.

It’s interesting that Marvel are using former Doctor Who actors as villains. First Christopher Eccleston in the last Thor movie and now Karen Gillan sans locks as Nebula. Next it’ll be MS as [possible spoiler deleted] Not a tip, just a thought…

Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t seem like 122 minutes: it was so fresh, so fast and So. Much. Fun. Highly recommended.

Only about 10 or 20 people left the cinema early. EVERYONE ELSE waited for the scene after the credits. Even then, they had to put up the IMAX ‘Thank for for coming, please return your 3D glasses’ sign before most of the audience started moving. We all wanted MORE. There’s a sequel coming. Not fast enough, in my opinion.

The minion has flagged Guardians of the Galaxy as a movie to collect.